Dill Salmon Pasta Salad Recipe

10 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is the ultimate refreshing salad with salmon, asparagus, fresh dill, tender pasta, and creamy, zesty lemon dressing.

Most people are used to classic sides like Egg SaladPotato Salad, and Pasta Salad. This Dill Salmon Pasta Salad takes the same idea and adds tons of new unique and exciting flavors to it. Salmon Pasta Salad is perfect to bring to your next cookout, potluck, or party to change things up and add delightfully refreshing flavor to the spread. 

Just like Classic Macaroni Salad, this is the perfect Side Dish for your next potluck or BBQ. The cooked salmon, dijon mustard, and fresh dill bring a fun flavorful twist to the salad to make it completely new. 

Sabrina’s Dill Salmon Pasta Salad Recipe

Say hello to your new favorite pasta salad! Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a fresh, citrusy salad that you are sure to love. It’s packed with a variety of tastes and ingredients like mustard, dill, lemon, and a little cayenne pepper. All these ingredients go wonderfully with the salmon and balance each other out so each bite is pure perfection. 

This Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a creamy and refreshing dish featuring flaked salmon, blanched asparagus, and rotini pasta. The tangy dressing, a blend of mayo, sour cream, dill, and spices, adds a zesty kick. It’s a versatile American dish, perfect for summer picnics or light lunches.

The dill goes great with the lemon and salmon in the recipe. Dill has a citrus-like taste with an earthy undertone. The fresh tang is the perfect complement to the rich taste and buttery texture of salmon. 

Along with its zesty, refreshing taste Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is also a healthy alternative to other Macaroni Salads. The salmon in the recipe is full of healthy fats, nutrients, and minerals. It’s also packed with all sorts of vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

portioned ingredients for Dill Salmon Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Asparagus: Asparagus adds a fresh, crisp element to the salad, complementing the richness of salmon. It can be substituted with green beans or snap peas if desired.
  • 1 pound Salmon, cooked: Salmon provides a protein-rich and flavorful element to the salad, adding depth to the dish. Other cooked fish like trout or canned salmon can be used as alternatives.
  • 2 cups Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise forms the creamy base for the dressing, imparting richness and a tangy flavor. Greek yogurt or a combination of yogurt and olive oil can be substituted for a lighter version.
  • ⅓ cup Sour Cream: Sour cream enhances the creaminess of the dressing while adding a slight tang. Greek yogurt or buttermilk can replace it for a different texture and taste.
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard provides a sharp, tangy kick to the dressing, balancing the creaminess. Yellow mustard or whole grain mustard can be used for variation.
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper adds a subtle heat to the dressing, offering a hint of spice. Adjust the amount to suit your spice preference.
  • 1 Lemon, juiced and zested: Lemon juice and zest provide a zesty, citrusy brightness to the dressing, enhancing the overall flavor. Lime or orange can be substituted for a different citrus twist.
  • ⅓ cup Fresh Dill, chopped: Fresh dill contributes a delightful herbaceous and slightly sweet note to the salad. Substitute with fresh parsley or chives for a different herb flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt: Kosher salt enhances the seasoning of the dish, bringing out the flavors in the dressing and ingredients. Adjust to taste, using table salt if needed.
  • ½ teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper: Coarse ground black pepper adds a mild spiciness and texture to the dressing. ]
  • 16 ounces Rotini Pasta, cooked and drained: Rotini pasta forms the base of the salad, providing a satisfying texture and holding the dressing well. Other pasta shapes like penne or bowtie can be used.
  • ½ cup Red Onion, minced: Red onion imparts a sweet and tangy crunch to the salad, balancing the flavors. Substitute with shallots or scallions for milder onion notes.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  1. Large Bowl: A large bowl is essential for mixing the salad ingredients and dressing thoroughly. Use a sturdy, spacious bowl to avoid spilling and ensure even coating.
  2. Whisk: A whisk is handy for combining the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and other dressing ingredients seamlessly.
  3. Pot for Boiling: You’ll need a pot for boiling the asparagus. Ensure it’s large enough to accommodate the asparagus without overcrowding. A lid can help retain heat and reduce boiling time.
  4. Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for tasks like trimming asparagus, chopping dill, and mincing red onions.
  5. Colander: A colander is essential for draining the cooked pasta and blanched asparagus. Make sure it’s sturdy and has small enough holes to prevent ingredients from slipping through.

How to Make

Time needed: 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  1. Step 1: Prepare Asparagus and Salmon

    Trim the asparagus, cut it into 1-inch chunks, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to ice water. Flake the cooked salmon into bite-sized pieces.blanching cut asparagus

  2. Step 2: Make Dressing

    In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, chopped dill, kosher salt, and coarse ground black pepper. Reserve 1 cup of the dressing.mixing seasonings into a bowl

  3. Step 3: Combine Ingredients

    Add the cooked and drained rotini pasta, flaked salmon, blanched asparagus, and minced red onion to the bowl with the dressing. Gently fold until everything is well coated.ingredients for Dill Salmon Pasta Salad in a bowl

  4. Step 4: Chill

    Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld and the salad to chill.mixed Dill Salmon Pasta Salad in a bowl

  5. Step 5: Serve

    Just before serving, stir in the remaining 1 cup of dressing to make the salad extra creamy. Enjoy your Dill Salmon Pasta Salad!slices of lime in bowl with Dill Salmon Pasta Salad

Can This Be Made Ahead of Time?

You can make the Dill Salmon Pasta Salad up to 1-2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to keep it well-covered to maintain freshness, and stir in the remaining dressing just before serving for the best taste and texture.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Dill Salmon Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 614mg27%
Potassium 462mg13%
Carbohydrates 41g14%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 579IU12%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store

Storing for Safety

To keep your Dill Salmon Pasta Salad fresh, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This prevents the salad from drying out and maintains its flavor. Consume within 2-3 days for the best taste and texture.

Freezing Leftovers

Unfortunately, the creamy dressing on Dill Salmon Pasta Salad won’t freeze well. It’s better to just make it fresh.

Tips & Tricks

  • Asparagus: Start by trimming the tough end off the asparagus. To check where you should cut it, bend the asparagus and cut where it naturally snaps. After trimming, cut the remaining asparagus into 1″ chunks, then put them in boiling water and let them cook for 3 minutes. Drain out the boiling water then add them to an icy bath right away. 
  • Pasta: Boil a pot of water to cook pasta until al dente. 
  • Salmon: Flake your salmon fillet into bite-sized pieces. Cooked salmon should flake fairly naturally. Use two forks to easily flake the salmon. Hold the salmon down with one fork, then pull the other fork against the salmon flesh to flake pieces off. 
  • Dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour, cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, dill, salt, and black pepper in a large serving bowl. Use a cup measurer to take 1 cup of dressing out, cover it, and set it aside. 
  • Salad: Add in the cooked pasta, salmon, asparagus, and red onion to the large bowl. Fold the ingredients together until well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Top it off with the reserved cup of dressing and mix it in. 

Frequent Questions

Can I substitute fresh salmon with canned salmon?

Yes, you can substitute fresh salmon with canned salmon if needed. Just be sure to drain the canned salmon well and flake it into bite-sized pieces before adding it to the salad. Canned salmon can offer a convenient alternative.

Is there a way to make this salad lighter?

Absolutely! You can make this salad lighter by using low-fat or light versions of mayonnaise and sour cream in the dressing. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a healthier twist without compromising flavor.

How do I prevent the pasta from becoming mushy when refrigerating?

To prevent the pasta from becoming mushy, make sure it’s fully cooked but still slightly al dente before adding it to the salad. Additionally, avoid overcooking the pasta during its initial cooking, and cool it down quickly in cold water after draining to stop the cooking process.

Can I make the dressing in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the dressing in advance and store it separately in the refrigerator. Just make sure to give it a good stir before adding it to the salad. This can save you time when assembling the dish later.

What can I serve this salad with?

Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is a versatile dish. You can serve it as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, steak, or as the main course for a light lunch or dinner. It also makes a great addition to picnics and potlucks.

Can I customize the salad with additional ingredients?

Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with additional ingredients like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, or feta cheese to tailor the salad to your taste. Just ensure that they complement the flavors and textures of the existing ingredients.

Recipe Card

Dill Salmon Pasta Salad

Dill Salmon Pasta Salad is the ultimate refreshing salad with salmon, asparagus, fresh dill, tender pasta, and creamy, zesty lemon dressing.
Yield 10 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 bunch asparagus , thin stalks
  • 1 pound salmon , cooked
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon , juiced and zested
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon course ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces rotini pasta , cooked and drained
  • 1/2 cup red onion , minced

Instructions

  • Trim the bottoms of the asparagus (bend and where it naturally snaps, use that as a guide for the rest of the bunch).
  • Cut asparagus into 1 inch chunks, then add to a pot of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes then drain to ice water.
  • Flake salmon into bite-sized chunks.
  • In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
  • Reserve 1 cup of the dressing in a covered container.
  • Add pasta, salmon, asparagus, and red onion and fold carefully until well coated.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours (at least) then stir in the remaining dressing right before serving (this makes it extra creamy).

Notes

Notes:
  • Click on the “yield” amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update! 
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the “Metric” option next to “Ingredients” in the recipe card.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 614mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Dill Salmon Pasta Salad

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Variations

  • Meat: Instead of salmon you can try using tuna, turkey, ham, or chicken. You could also add some crunchy bacon over the top of your Salmon Pasta Salad. If you don’t have freshly cooked salmon, canned salmon will also work for this salad.
  • Pasta: If you don’t have rotini pasta, you can use any short-cut noodles you have in your pantry. Try using elbow macaroni, Farfalle, orzo, shells, or orecchiette.
  • Yogurt: If you want to lighten up this Pasta Salad, try using Greek Yogurt in place of the mayonnaise in the recipe. It will keep the same delicious, creamy texture. 
  • Flavorings: For some different flavorings try mixing in fresh parsley, minced garlic cloves, chili flakes, chile powder, and Tabasco. You can also add an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper. To make the Salad Recipe even more lemony add in a bit of extra lemon juice or lemon zest. For a garnish put some fresh lemon wedges on the side of the Salmon Pasta Salad recipe.
  • Add-ins: There are so many tasty add-ins you can toss into this recipe. Try mixing in some chickpeas, nuts, or hard-boiled eggs. You can also add avocado, cucumber, frozen green peas, or cherry tomatoes. The colorful vegetables will make an even more pretty Pasta Salad to add to your table. 

More Yummy Salmon Recipes

Dill Salmon Pasta Salad Pin

 

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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